The National Endowment for the Arts, which released a study in 2004 that showed people aren't reading, is trying to do something about that situation. The Big Read is a NEA program created to try to encourage communities to read.
This is marvelous, of course, but I tend to agree with Sara Nelson of Publisher's Weekly who, in an article called The Big Yawn, called the books chosen for the initiative "predictable."
I'm guessing a lot of high school summer reading lists will include many of those same titles. (Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, A Farewell to Arms, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Joy Luck Club ) There's nothing wrong with that. But, as Nelson asks, "Where are the "fun" or even slightly subversive reads, the literate thrillers that might really make readers out of slackers?"
Ah, where indeed?
Thanks to ArtsJournal.com for the Publisher's Weekly link.